The U.S. services sector expanded at a slower pace in April as the non-manufacturing business activity composite index was 53.5, down from 56.0 in March, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Institute for Supply Management reported on Thursday.

Economists expected a 55.5 level.

An index reading above 50 suggests expansion.

The prices paid index slid to 53.6 from 63.9, while the employment index decreased to 54.2 from 56.7.

The business activity-production index fell to 54.6 from 58.9, and the new orders index was at 53.5, off from 58.8.

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